Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Gospel Saturday Special

Volume 4 No. 213 April 18, 2014

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Jesus: Agony in the Garden by Bellini Giovanni, c1459
Jesus: Agony in the Garden by Bellini Giovanni, c1459
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Bible Readings For Gospel Saturday (Saturday of Good Tidings)

Bible Readings For Gospel Saturday (Saturday of Good Tidings)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_passion-Holy-saturday.htm

2. Sermons For Gospel Saturday (Saturday of Good Tidings)

Sermons For For Gospel Saturday (Saturday of Good Tidings)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-for-Passion-week_Saturday.htm

3. Inspiration for Today

4. Featured: Where is Jesus After He Dies? A short Reflection on the Harrowing of Hell

Where is Christ after he dies on Friday afternoon and before he rises on Easter Sunday? Both Scripture and Tradition answer this question. Consider the following from a Second Century Sermon. ...

5. Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is sacred as the day of the Lord's rest; it has been called the "Second Sabbath" after creation. The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year. Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns. After the great battle He is resting in peace, but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering...The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible....Jesus' enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander. ...

6. Holy Saturday and The Shroud of Turin

Holy Saturday is a day of silent prayer and meditation on the Lord's death, but it is also a day of joyful waiting of the light of the resurrection that will explode in the great celebration of the Easter Vigil. ...

7. Justified as a Gift through Faith in the Blood of Christ

"Today we can make the most important decision in our lives: to believe… that Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our justification". Unlike Adam and Eve, we must not hide from the presence of God, because of our sin. Instead we must recognize our need to be justified; that we cannot justify ourselves.

Faith in the Risen Christ, like satellite images and infrared photography, helps us see world in new light. It helps us to see beyond misery, injustice; because we know "in Christ dead and risen, the world has reached its final destination" a new heavens, a new earth have begun. ...

8. The Saturday In-Between

It seemed whenever I thought of Easter, I thought only of Easter Sunday - the celebration of resurrected life - or Good Friday - the death Christ suffered on the cross. I never thought as pastor and author Pete Wilson points out in Plan B, of the Saturday In-Between. ...

9. From Friday to Sunday

Every year all over the world, people honor Good Friday as the day Jesus was crucified. It was the darkest, most painful, discouraging day of His life. To others, it looked as if it was over. It looked as if His enemies had gotten the best of Him. But God had other plans. Jesus' enemies put Him in the grave on Friday, celebrating their victory, but Sunday morning was a different story. The grave could not hold Him. Death couldn't contain Him. The forces of darkness couldn't stop Him. On the third day, Jesus came out of the grave and said, "I was dead, but now I am alive forevermore." ...

10. Fourth Servant Song in Isaiah - Part VIII: The Victor's Portion

The cross itself, which fixed him between heaven and earth, is the ultimate intercession, the final and complete act of interposition. He put himself between sinful man, and the Holy God! He took upon himself our judgment, our guilt and the sorrows that accompany our rebellion!

He still pleads for us at the Right hand of God, as the ever faithful High Priest, constantly bringing us to God, and maintaining our life before Him, in spite of our sins, flaws and periodic defections. ...

11. Malankara World Passion Week Supplement

Malankara World has a supplement that provides detailed information about Passion Week including articles, prayers, sermons, etc. You will find it here:

Passion Week Supplement in Malankara World
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lent/Passion/Default.htm

Malankara World has developed a daily plan of bible readings, meditations, reflections, and prayers for Passion Week. You will find it here:

Today in Passion Week
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lent/Passion/Passion_Today_archives.htm

12. Turning Suffering into Something Sacred: God's Work in Us

During the night He was betrayed, God the Son knew that suffering can bring good to us and the world when it is God the Father's will. This Holy Week is a great time to remind ourselves that suffering can not only do things to you, but it can do things for you. And it's not just me saying this. ...

13. Recipe: Classic Egg Salad

Easter is the time for eggs. Especially left-over-eggs recipes! This creamy egg salad can be layered with crunchy lettuce on whole wheat toast for a simple sandwich, or stuffed into cherry tomatoes for an impressive appetizer. ...

14. Food: Tips For Peeling Boiled Eggs

Put a teaspoon of salt into the water, bring eggs to a boil, turn off heat and put a lid on the pan, then let them sit for 1/2 hr. ...

15. About Malankara World

Saturday of Good Tidings

Bible Readings for Holy Saturday (April 19)

Bible Readings For Gospel Saturday (Saturday of Good Tidings)
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_passion-Holy-saturday.htm

Sermons for Holy Saturday (April 19)

Sermons For For Gospel Saturday (Saturday of Good Tidings)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-for-Passion-week_Saturday.htm

More Sermons

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
Christ yesterday and today,
the Beginning and the End,
the Alpha and Omega.
His are the times and ages:
To Him be glory and dominion
Through all ages of eternity.
Amen
Featured: Where is Jesus After He Dies? A short Reflection on the Harrowing of Hell

by Msgr. Charles Pope

Descent

Where is Christ after he dies on Friday afternoon and before he rises on Easter Sunday? Both Scripture and Tradition answer this question. Consider the following from a Second Century Sermon and also a mediation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

An Ancient Sermon:

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him – He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . "I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead."
[From an Ancient Holy Saturday Homily ca 2nd Century]

Nothing could be more beautiful than that line addressed to Adam and Eve: I am your God, who, for your sake, became your Son."

Scripture also testifies to Christ's descent to the dead and what he did: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison….For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:6).

Consider also this from the Catechism on Christ's descent to the dead, which I summarize and excerpt from CCC # 631-635

[The] first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell [is] that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead.

But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there [1 Peter 3:18-19; 1 Peter 4:6; Heb. 13:20]. Scripture calls [this] abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, "hell" – Sheol in Hebrew, or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God [1 Peter 3:18-19].

Such [was] the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they awaited the Redeemer: It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior …whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell."[cf Psalms 89:49; 1 Sam. 28:19; Ezek 32:17ff; Luke 16:22-26]

Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.

[So] the gospel was preached even to the dead. The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment. This is the last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ's redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

Christ went down into the depths of death so that "the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."[1 Peter 4:6] Jesus, "the Author of life", by dying, destroyed "him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage" [John 5:25; Mt 12:40; Rom 10:7; Eph 4:9].

Henceforth the risen Christ holds "the keys of Death and Hades", so that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth." [Heb 2:14-15; Acts 3:15]

Source: Archdiocese of Washington Blog

Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday (from Sabbatum Sanctum, its official liturgical name) is sacred as the day of the Lord's rest; it has been called the "Second Sabbath" after creation. The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year. Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns. After the great battle He is resting in peace, but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering...The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible....Jesus' enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander.

Mary and the disciples are grief-stricken, while the Church must mournfully admit that too many of her children return home from Calvary cold and hard of heart. When Mother Church reflects upon all of this, it seems as if the wounds of her dearly Beloved were again beginning to bleed.

According to tradition, the entire body of the Church is represented in Mary: she is the "credentium collectio universa" (Congregation for Divine Worship, Lettera circolare sulla preparazione e celebrazione delle feste pasquali, 73). Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord's tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of his resurrection.

The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church: while the body of her Son lays in the tomb and his soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation from the shadow of darkness to his ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death. - Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

Although we are still in mourning, there is much preparation during this day to prepare for Easter. Out of the kitchen comes the smells of Easter pastries and bread, the lamb or hams and of course, the Easter eggs.

It is during the night between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday that the Easter Vigil is celebrated.

Holy Saturday and The Shroud of Turin

by Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin

Holy Saturday is a day of silent prayer and meditation on the Lord's death, but it is also a day of joyful waiting of the light of the resurrection that will explode in the great celebration of the Easter Vigil.

It is a day of silence, prayer, contemplation of the mystery of the passion and death of the Lord, but also a day of expectation and openness of heart and life in the light of the resurrection.

The Shroud of Turin is a witness of this double mystery: it brings us back to the darkness of the tomb, but it also opens the way to receive the light that from it will emerge, in the event of the resurrection.

The Shroud is not a sign of defeat, but of victory, of life over death, of love over hatred and violence, hope over despair...the face of the Man of Sorrows, which is the face of every man on the earth, represents his suffering, his death, it speaks to us of love and gift, of grace and forgiveness.

The Shroud is a reminder that "the proclamation of Christ dead, buried and risen again," which is at the center of the Christian mystery.

The Shroud of Turin is venerated as the burial cloth of Christ, and bears a mysterious image of a man who suffered in a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is kept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.

Justified as a Gift through Faith in the Blood of Christ

by Father Raniero Cantalamessa

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith in his blood. He did this to show his righteousness [...] to prove at the present time that he is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom 3:23-26).


We have reached the summit of the Year of Faith and its decisive moment. This is the faith that saves, "faith that overcomes the world" (1 Jn 5:5)! Faith - the appropriation by which we make ours the salvation worked by Christ, by which we put on the mantle of his righteousness. On the one hand there is the outstretched hand of God offering man His grace; on the other hand, the hand of man reaching out to receive it through faith. The "new and everlasting Covenant" is sealed with a handclasp between God and man.

We have the opportunity to make, on this day, the most important decision of our lives, one that opens wide before us the doors of eternity: to believe! To believe that "Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our justification" (Rom 4:25)! In an Easter homily of the 4th century, the bishop pronounced these extraordinarily modern, and one could say existentialist, words: "For every man, the beginning of life is when Christ was immolated for him. However, Christ is immolated for him at the moment he recognizes the grace and becomes conscious of the life procured for him by that immolation" (The Paschal Homily of the Year 387 : SCh, 36 p. 59f.).

What an extraordinary thing! This Good Friday celebrated in the Year of Faith and in the presence of the new successor of Peter, could be, if we wish, the principle of a new kind of existence. Bishop Hilary of Poitiers, converted to Christianity as an adult, looking back on his past life, said, "before meeting you, I did not exist".

What is required is only that we do not hide from the presence of God, as Adam and Eve did after their sin, that we recognize our need to be justified; that we cannot justify ourselves. The publican of the parable came to the temple and made a short prayer: "O God, have mercy on me a sinner". And Jesus says that the man returned to his home "justified", that is, made right before him, forgiven, made a new creature, I think singing joyfully in his heart (Lk 18:14). What had he done that was so extraordinary? Nothing, he had put himself in the truth before God, and it is the only thing that God needs in order to act.

* * *

Like he who, in climbing a mountain wall, having overcome a dangerous step, stops for a moment to catch his breath and admire the new landscape that has opened up before him, so does the Apostle Paul at the beginning of Chapter 5 of the letter to the Romans, after having proclaimed justification by faith:

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we
boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
And not only that, but we
also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us"
(Rom 5: 1-5).

Today, from artificial satellites infrared photographs of whole regions of the Earth and of the whole planet are taken. How different the landscape looks when seen from up there, in the light of those rays, compared to what we see in natural light and from down here! I remember one of the first satellite pictures published in the world; it reproduced the entire Sinai Peninsula. The colors were different, the reliefs and depressions were more noticeable. It is a symbol. Even human life, seen in the infrared rays of faith, from atop Calvary, looks different from what you see "with the naked eye".

"The same fate", said the wise man of the Old Testament, "comes to all, to the righteous and to the wicked...I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well" (Ecc 3:16; 9:2). And in fact at all times man has witnessed iniquity triumphant and innocence humiliated. But so that people do not believe that there is something fixed and sure in the world, behold, Bossuet notes, sometimes you see the opposite, namely, innocence on the throne and lawlessness on the scaffold. But what did Qoheleth conclude from all this? " I said in my heart: God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for everything" (Ecc 3:17). He found the vantage point that puts the soul in peace.

What Qoheleth could not know and that we do know is that this judgement has already happened: "Now", Jesus says when beginning his passion, "is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (Jn 12:31-32).

In Christ dead and risen, the world has reached its final destination. Human progress is advancing today at a dizzying pace and humanity sees new and unexpected horizons unfolding before it, the result of its discoveries. Still, it can be said that the end of time has already come, because in Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Father, humanity has reached its ultimate goal. The new heavens and new Earth have already begun.

Despite all the misery, injustice, the monstrosities present on Earth, he has already inaugurated the final order in the world. What we see with our own eyes may suggest otherwise, but in reality evil and death have been defeated forever. Their sources are dry; the reality is that Jesus is the Lord of the world. Evil has been radically defeated by redemption which he operated. The new world has already begun.


One thing above all appears different, seen with the eyes of faith: death! Christ entered death as we enter a dark prison; but he came out of it from the opposite wall. He did not return from whence he came, as Lazarus did who returned to life to die again. He has opened a breach towards life that no one can ever close, and through which everyone can follow him. Death is no longer a wall against which every human hope is shattered; it has become a bridge to eternity. A "bridge of sighs", perhaps because no one likes to die, but a bridge, no longer a bottomless pit that swallows everything. "Love is strong as death", says the song of songs (Sgs 8:6). In Christ it was stronger than death!

In his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People", the Venerable Bede tells how the Christian faith made its entrance into the North of England. When the missionaries from Rome arrived in Northumberland, the local King summoned a Council of dignitaries to decide whether to allow them, or not, to spread the new message. Some of those present were in favor, others against. It was winter and outside there was a blizzard, but the room was lit and warm. At one point a bird came from a hole in the wall, fluttered a bit, frightened, in the hall, and then disappeared through a hole in the opposite wall.

Then one of those present rose and said: "Sire, our life in this world resembles that bird. We come we know not from where, for a while we enjoy the light and warmth of this world and then we disappear back into the darkness, without knowing where we are going. If these men are capable of revealing to us something of the mystery of our lives, we must listen to them". The Christian faith could return on our continent and in the secularized world for the same reason it made its entrance: as the only message, that is, which has a sure answer to the great questions of life and death.

* * *

The cross separates unbelievers from believers, because for the ones it is scandal and madness, for the others is God's power and wisdom of God (cf. 1 Cor 1:23-24); but in a deeper sense it unites all men, believers and unbelievers. "Jesus had to die [...] not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God" (cf. Jn 11:51f). The new heavens and the new Earth belong to everyone and are for everyone, because Christ died for everyone.

The urgency that comes from all this is that of evangelizing: "The love of Christ urges us, at the thought that one has died for all" (2 Cor 5:14). It urges us to evangelize! Let us announce to the world the good news that "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because the law of the spirit which gives life in Christ Jesus has delivered us from the law of sin and death" (Rom 8:1-2).

There is a short story by Franz Kafka that is a powerful religious symbol and takes on a new meaning, almost prophetic, when heard on Good Friday. It's titled "An Imperial Message". It speaks of a king who, on his deathbed, calls to his side a subject and whispers a message into his ear. So important is that message that he makes the subject repeat it, in turn, into his hear. Then, with a nod, he sends off the messenger, who sets out on his way. But let us hear directly from the author the continuation of this story, characterized by the dreamlike and almost nightmarish tone typical of this writer:

" Now pushing with his right arm, now with his left, he cleaves a way for himself through the throng; if he encounters resistance he points to his breast, where the symbol of the sun glitters. But the multitudes are so vast; their numbers have no end. If he could reach the open fields how fast he would fly, and soon doubtless you would hear the welcome hammering of his fists on your door. But instead how vainly does he wear out his strength; still he is only making his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; never will he get to the end of them; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; he must next fight his way down the stair; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; the courts would still have to be crossed; and after the courts the second outer palace; and so on for thousands of years; and if at last he should burst through the outermost gate - but never, never can that happen - the imperial capital would lie before him, the center of the world, crammed to bursting with its own sediment. Nobody could fight his way through here even with a message from a dead man. But you sit at your window when evening falls and dream it to yourself".

From his deathbed, Christ also confided to his Church a message: "Go throughout the whole world, preach the good news to all creation" (MK 16:15). There are still many men who stand at the window and dream, without knowing it, of a message like his. John, whom we have just heard, says that the soldier pierced the side of Christ on the cross "so that the Scripture may be fulfilled which says 'they shall look on him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19:37). In the Apocalypse he adds: "Behold, he is coming on the clouds, and every eye will see him; they will see him even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the Earth will lament for him "(Rev 1:7).

This prophecy does not announce the last coming of Christ, when it will no longer be the time of conversion, but of judgment. It describes the reality of the evangelization of the peoples. In it, a mysterious but real coming of the Lord occurs, which brings salvation to them. Theirs won't be a cry of despair, but of repentance and of consolation. This is the meaning of that prophetic passage of Scripture that John sees realized in the piercing of the side of Christ, and that is, the passage of Zechariah 12:10: "I will pour out on the House of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and consolation; they will look to me, to him whom they have pierced".

The evangelization has a mystical origin; it is a gift that comes from the cross of Christ, from that open side, from that blood and from that water. The love of Christ, like that of the Trinity of which it is the historical manifestation, is "diffusivum sui", it tends to expand and reach all creatures, "especially those most needy of thy mercy." Christian evangelization is not a conquest, not propaganda; it is the gift of God to the world in his Son Jesus. It is to give the Head the joy of feeling life flow from his heart towards his body, to the point of vivivfying its most distant limbs.

We must do everything possible so that the Church may never look like that complicated and cluttered castle described by Kafka, and the message may come out of it as free and joyous as when the messenger began his run. We know what the impediments are that can restrain the messenger: dividing walls, starting with those that separate the various Christian churches from one another, the excess of bureaucracy, the residue of past ceremonials, laws and disputes, now only debris.

In Revelation, Jesus says that He stands at the door and knocks (Rev 3:20). Sometimes, as noted by our Pope Francis, he does not knock to enter, but knocks from within to go out. To reach out to the "existential suburbs of sin, suffering, injustice, religious ignorance and indifference, and of all forms of misery."

As happens with certain old buildings. Over the centuries, to adapt to the needs of the moment, they become filled with partitions, staircases, rooms and closets. The time comes when we realize that all these adjustments no longer meet the current needs, but rather are an obstacle, so we must have the courage to knock them down and return the building to the simplicity and linearity of its origins. This was the mission that was received one day by a man who prayed before the Crucifix of San Damiano: "Go, Francis, and repair my Church".

"Who could ever be up to this task?" wondered aghast the Apostle before the superhuman task of being in the world "the fragrance of Christ"; and here is his reply, that still applies today: "We're not ourselves able to think something as if it came from us; our ability comes from God. He has made us to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life"(2 Cor 2:16; 3:5-6).

May the Holy Spirit, in this moment in which a new time is opening for the Church, full of hope, reawaken in men who are at the window the expectancy of the message, and in the messengers the will to make it reach them, even at the cost of their life.

Source: 2013 Good Friday Sermon preached at the St. Peter's Basilica by Capuchin Friar Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher of the Papal Household. Courtesy of the Vatican Radio

The Saturday In-Between

by Bonnie Gray

I was filled with joy for Jesus on Easter Sunday, in praise and thankfulness for the sacrifice and love He poured out for me on Good Friday 2000 years ago. I am always brought to tears meditating on the suffering our Lord endured emotionally, physically and spiritually by taking up the cross. But, I was often heart heavy waiting to taste the power of resurrection in some difficult circumstances.

It seemed whenever I thought of Easter, I thought only of Easter Sunday - the celebration of resurrected life - or Good Friday - the death Christ suffered on the cross. I never thought as pastor and author Pete Wilson points out in Plan B, of the Saturday In-Between:

"Saturday… It seems like a day when nothing is happening. It's a day of questioning, doubting, wondering and definitely waiting…helplessness or hopelessness.

Is it possible that Saturday is actually a day of preparation?

… Saturday was the day God was engineering a resurrection."

Source: Excerpted from: 'When Easter Feels Overwhelming: Sometimes It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better', Faith Barista

From Friday to Sunday

by Joel Osteen

They will flog Him and kill Him; and on the third day He will rise again.
Luke 18:33, AMP.

Every year all over the world, people honor Good Friday as the day Jesus was crucified. It was the darkest, most painful, discouraging day of His life. To others, it looked as if it was over. It looked as if His enemies had gotten the best of Him. But God had other plans. Jesus' enemies put Him in the grave on Friday, celebrating their victory, but Sunday morning was a different story. The grave could not hold Him. Death couldn't contain Him. The forces of darkness couldn't stop Him. On the third day, Jesus came out of the grave and said, "I was dead, but now I am alive forevermore."

One principle that the resurrection teaches us is that God will always finish what He started. No matter how dark it looks, no matter how long it's been, no matter how many people are trying to push you down; if you will stay in faith, God will always take you from Friday to Sunday. You will see your day of breakthrough because God will complete what He started.

If you are going through a dark time today, remember that your day of resurrection, your "Sunday," is on the way! Keep standing, keep believing because soon you will rise up and embrace the victory He has in store for you!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for Your resurrection power that is alive in me. I choose to keep my eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith. Thank You that no matter how dark it looks, my day of breakthrough is on its way in Jesus' name! Amen!

Source: Today's Word with Joel Osteen

Fourth Servant Song in Isaiah - Part VIII: The Victor's Portion

by Bill Randles

[Editor's Note:

This is the last part of our commentary and discussion on the Fourth Servant Song in Isaiah, the most important Old Testament Prophesy about the coming Messiah. ]

Scripture: Isaiah 53:12

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53:12)

The last verse of this fourth Servant Song has always struck me as anti-climatic. But this is because I believe the King James version confuses the meaning somewhat, for it reads as though the Servant takes his place among other great and strong ones.

But the according to evangelical scholar Alec Motyer, Hebrew text reads, "I will allocate to Him the many, and the strong will be apportioned as a spoil". Thus, the Servant receives as his own possession, the many for whom he died to save.

As for his possession of the strong, the prophet has already sung about the reactions of the "princes" of the earth to the Servant,

So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. (Isaiah 52:15)

Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. (Isaiah 49:7)

The song closes by listing the grounds for which the Servant receives 'the many', as his own, and why the "strong' (Kings of the earth), as His possession,

"Because…" Young points out in his commentary, that this word, 'tahat aser', is the strongest causative in Hebrew, and is the equivalent of "Because of the fact that…".

…he hath poured out his soul unto death… He will receive the many and the strong for his possession, because He gave His life as a drink offering to God. Notice that the Servant is not said to have been murdered, He himself was the agent of his own death, He poured out his own life!

…and he was numbered with the transgressors… The word 'numbered', niphal, is in a 'tolerative ' tense, "He let himself be numbered…"The Servant receives the reward because He voluntarily identified with the people He came to save. He allowed himself to be so identified with us, He actually became liable before God for our guilt! Paul proclaims,

"He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor 5:21)

…and he bare the sin of many…As a substitute, the Servant 'lifted up and took away' the transgression of the rebels, bearing our sins to judgment on the cross. Like the scapegoat of Leviticus, he was banished for us, carrying away the guilt of our defection from God.

…and made intercessiohttp://www.MalankaraWorld.comfor the transgressors. Finally, because he became a mediator, standing between we who deserved nothing but wrath and judgment, and the Holy God, against whom we have sinned. He made His own life our sin offering. His sinless life , perfectly pleasing to God, becomes our only plea for pardon and favor.

The cross itself, which fixed him between heaven and earth, is the ultimate intercession, the final and complete act of interposition. He put himself between sinful man, and the Holy God! He took upon himself our judgment, our guilt and the sorrows that accompany our rebellion!

He still pleads for us at the Right hand of God, as the ever faithful High Priest, constantly bringing us to God, and maintaining our life before Him, in spite of our sins, flaws and periodic defections.

The Servant himself is our peace, for He has accomplished the task, He has pleased the LORD, who has ordained Him to bring this reconciliation without. Small wonder that in the end, all shall sing with trembling adoration, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is LORD".

Yet in grace and love that is nearly unfathomable, He freely shares the spoil, with all of us who by faith have gathered to Him and who freely identify with Him in the great conflict between darkness and light. He justified us, redeemed us, Loved and washed us from our sins in His own blood! And the Servant lavishes gifts upon we, who are his bride! All glory, honor and praise to Jesus!

Source: Bill Randles Blog

Malankara World Passion Week Supplement

Malankara World has a supplement that provides detailed information about Passion Week including articles, prayers, sermons, etc. You will find it here:

Passion Week Supplement in Malankara World

Malankara World has developed a daily plan of bible readings, meditations, reflections, and prayers for Passion Week. Please click on the link below for the day to read the reflection for that day.

Good Friday

Gospel Saturday

Easter

Turning Suffering into Something Sacred: God's Work in Us

by Eric Metaxas, BreakPoint.org

In Sunday school or at our small group Bible studies, when it's time for prayer requests, what do we ask people to pray for? Well, often we ask people to pray that God would cure our sicknesses and diseases - or those of our loved ones; that He would give us a job, or that He would smooth out our relationships; to sum up, that He would make our lives easier - that He would take away our suffering.

Now, don't get defensive! I'm not here to tell you today that praying for these things is wrong. I've certainly done it myself, and I do it myself, and will continue to do so. As Jesus said while facing the suffering of the cross, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me."

Yet that's not all He prayed, is it? Jesus added, "Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done."

During the night He was betrayed, God the Son knew that suffering can bring good to us and the world when it is God the Father's will. This Holy Week is a great time to remind ourselves that suffering can not only do things to you, but it can do things for you. And it's not just me saying this.

New York Times columnist David Brooks has written a piece that highlights some of the benefits of suffering. Brooks has noticed that Americans take their "pursuit of happiness" very seriously indeed. "We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness," Brooks writes. "In one three-month period last year, more than 1,000 books were released on Amazon on that subject."

But happiness isn't all we crack it up to be, Brooks says. While eschewing glib answers and clichés, Brooks nevertheless asserts that suffering sometimes ennobles us, makes us more empathetic to others, and provides a revealing measure of self-knowledge.

Brooks writes, "The agony involved in, say, composing a great piece of music or the grief of having lost a loved one smashes through what [people] thought was the bottom floor of their personality, revealing an area below, and then it smashes through that floor revealing another area."

Another benefit of suffering, he writes, is that it forces us to face the fact that we cannot control every aspect of life; that we are limited and must depend on something else to get through it. "People in this circumstance," Brooks notes, "often have the sense that they are swept up in some larger providence. Abraham Lincoln suffered through the pain of conducting a civil war, and he … emerged with the sense that there were deep currents of agony and redemption sweeping not just through him but through the nation as a whole, and that he was just an instrument for transcendent tasks."

It gets better. Brooks continues: "The right response to this sort of pain is not pleasure. It's holiness. I don't even mean that in a purely religious sense. It means seeing life as a moral drama, placing the hard experiences in a moral context and trying to redeem something bad by turning it into something sacred."

David Brooks, who is Jewish, has touched on something here that we Christians can contemplate with profit this Holy Week: how God the Father turned the ultimate bad circumstance, the death of His only Son on the cross, into the most sacred act imaginable, the restoration and redemption of sinners like you, and like me.

Yes, happiness is a good thing. But today, let's not forget the holiness that God only offers us through suffering.

About The Author:

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Source: BreakPoint Commentary

Recipe: Classic Egg Salad

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

Easter is the time for eggs. Especially left-over-eggs recipes! This creamy egg salad can be layered with crunchy lettuce on whole wheat toast for a simple sandwich, or stuffed into cherry tomatoes for an impressive appetizer.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

6 - Hard Boiled Eggs, sliced
1/4 cup - mayonnaise
2 tsp. - fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. - minced onion
1/4 tsp. - salt
1/4 tsp. - pepper
1/2 cup - finely chopped celery
Lettuce leaves

Directions

Step 1

Reserve 4 center egg slices for garnish, if desired. Chop remaining eggs.

Step 2

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Add chopped eggs and celery; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, to blend flavors.

Step 3

Serve on lettuce leaves; garnish with reserved egg slices.

Source: Incredible Egg; © 2013 American Egg Board. All rights reserved.

Food: Tips For Peeling Boiled Eggs
Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. This brief "breather" allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.

Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

To peel a hard-boiled egg:

Gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Starting peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.

Another Tip:

Put a teaspoon of salt into the water, bring eggs to a boil, turn off heat and put a lid on the pan, then let them sit for 1/2 hr.

Drain off hot water and add very cold water by adding a couple of ice cubes to the water.

Crack eggs and start peeling them from the fat end because they usually have an air pocket in that end.

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